Today we are having a look at the EK-XLC Predator 240, the first AIO liquid cooling solution from EKWB. EKWB is a company that specializes in and is known by their custom liquid cooling products, but with the EK-XLC Predator 240, the company is trying to bring the performance of their custom liquid cooling solutions to the AIO market. We are thoroughly examining and comparing their new product in this review.

Introduction

Ever since liquid cooling became a small trend in the 90's, when enthusiasts were using car radiators and aquarium pumps to cool down their heavily overclocked Athlons and Durons, many companies were founded, focused on custom advanced cooling solutions. However the combination of the relatively high cost and complexity of a liquid cooling system, plus the increasing energy efficiency of modern processors, kept demand for such systems and parts low. As a result, very few of these companies survived to this date. EK Water Blocks, or EKWB for short, is one of them.

EKWB is a company that originates from Slovenia. They are one of the oldest liquid-cooling focused companies around and today they are certainly one of the most popular PC custom liquid cooling manufacturers. They are mainly focused on designing individual liquid cooling parts, such as motherboard and GPU-specific cooling blocks, reservoirs and radiators. However, the bulk of the interest on liquid cooling systems today is on all-in-one (AIO) solutions that are ready to be installed and operate with little knowledge beyond knowing how to install a basic PC. EKWB has realized that and recently released two ready-to-go AIO cooling kits with a twist - these can also be upgraded and expanded. Today we are having a look at the EK-XLC Predator 240, the "small" kit that is featuring a 240 mm radiator.

Packaging & Bundle

The cardboard box that the Predator 240 came in is not particularly strong but the product is very well protected within a plastic shell inside it, ensuring that it will be delivered without damage. The artwork is simple, direct and elegant, mainly focused on a picture of the unit itself and it promotes its most significant features.

EKWB supplies the most basic bundle that we have ever seen coming with an AIO cooler. Inside the box we only found the power cable that is necessary to power the unit (a derivative of a SATA power cable), a few mounting screws, a Torx driver, thermal paste and a user's guide. The user's guide is by far the most interesting piece of the bundle, being well-written and illustrated, making it very useful. Note however that certain parts of the guide assume that the user is a fairly advanced DIY enthusiast, suggesting, for example, the removal of the CPU's lid or the internal cleaning of the water block. The instructions are detailed enough for an advanced user to partake such tasks, describing the process and the tools/chemicals/substances that may be necessary. However, several of these recommendations are absolutely not for amateurs and could result to major equipment damage when not performed adequately.

The EKWB EK-XLC Predator 240
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  • thestryker - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    I greatly appreciate the review on this, and it seems to match what I've seen in other places so that's always good. Going over the little pieces is what I've come to appreciate most about AT reviews. Talking about pump noise is also helpful as it seems like the asetek/coolit ones all seem to have issues here.

    For me at least this cooler is worth it simply to not give money to asetek. It would be nice if AnandTech could do a quick writeup or something on which AIOs are using the asetek design, and in turn giving them license money. The patent they've been allowed to use as a weapon is pretty absurd and has put us in a sad state for AIO development.
    Reply
  • iamkyle - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    The use of a DDC was an interesting choice... Reply
  • Kid98 - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    Every 3dB's is a doubling of power....

    Kid
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    Good catch.

    While we're nitpicking the dB discussion though, the human ear has a log response curve; 10 dB is only heard as roughly twice as loud so the 12.3dB spread between the best and worst coolers is only a bit more than twice as loud even though the sound is roughly 17 times as intense.
    Reply
  • Valkyrierie - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    The third fan header is meant to be used in EK-XLC Predator 360.

    EK-XLC 240 and 360 share the same power board despite 360 having an additional 120mm fan - Most likely, they stuck to one single board for both units to cut costs.
    Reply
  • initialised - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    No mention of the DDC pump or it's specs, power consumption, flow rate... Reply
  • wolfemane - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    I don't think power is really all that important with this kit. I'm currently using a koolance 450s running at settings for 26w @ 12v roughly doing 3.2gpm with my custom build. I did before and after power draw checks with an at wall kill-o-watt (I know it's not accurate, but it gives a general feel of whT your pulling) and I only saw a power increase of about 15w. Give or take a few watts. Flow rate is a little higher in use as well but not by much. So unless your really desperate to save on power due to over taxing a low end psu, the power draw of the pump/fans is going to be minimal on an AIO kit like this.

    And since the pump isn't an adjustable pump why would flow matter? It's traveling over one surface with a fairly large rad, as long as the kit is designed with decent flow and the chip is cooling, why worry about this uncontrollable spec?

    With these AIO kits I'd be more concerned with how its performance stands up to competition in regards to actual cooling and noise. Power, flow, pump specs just seem irrelevant. If this was a custom built system then I could see more attention needed for these areas.

    I thought it was a great review, I love EKWB and have used them since early Athlon. Nice to see a semi modifiable AIO from them. I even think the price fits the possibility seeing how there is an option for customization compared to other AIOs.
    Reply
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - link

    I'm surprised the pump's not adjustable. I can adjust my swiftech branded DDC pump using the mobo's fan controller software; it's a bit annoying since it's RPM curve isn't linear; but I was able to tune it to run at ~2/3rds speed (at most 1 or 2 C hotter temps but much quieter operation). Reply
  • londiste - Wednesday, December 16, 2015 - link

    https://shop.ekwb.com/ek-xlc-predator-240
    Pump type: Laing DDC3.1 6W
    that is specific enough to find the rest of the specs.
    Reply
  • wolfemane - Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - link

    Where can we get a set of anandtech labeled tools? Would love to add those to my tech tool box!! Reply

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